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British potato growers advised on wireworm damage and control

This season is the first where growers face managing wireworm without the key pesticide Mocap (ethoprophos) that has proved effective for some years in managing the costly pest.

This means there will be a greater reliance on less-effective alternatives in combination with with cultural controls to keep the pest in check.

Farmers Weekly looks at how growers can best manage wireworm, which in severe cases can lead to crop losses.

Wireworms are the larvae of click beetles and there are about 60 species in Britain. Only a few are pests and just three key species are responsible for most of the damage in potatoes. All three are widespread across the UK and usually occur in mixed populations in the same field.

There are two main activity periods for wireworm larvae in the UK. The first is between March and May and the second between September and October, with the second activity period the most damaging to potato crops.

Potato crops planted after long-term grass (more than four years) have always been considered at greatest risk of wireworm attack, as the pest favours undisturbed soil.

Read the full article in Farmers Weekly here

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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